Despite an impressive home performance on Tuesday night, the seesaw playoff series between the Ottawa 67’s and Mississauga Steelheads continued, with the fish taking a 2-1 series lead.
On Thursday, Ottawa will once again look to even things up and send the series back to Mississauga for Game 5 tied at two games apiece.
The Barber Poles will be looking for the same effort they brought to the last two games, which included a decisive shutout win in Game 2 on the road.
“That’s a really good hockey club and we have to bring our best,” said 67’s Head Coach and General Manager Jeff Brown. “It’s going to be a long series, we just have to come with a big effort in Game 4.”
The key, said Brown, is not looking too far ahead.
“We need to have the same mentality we had in Game 2, we just have to win one game,” he said.
The 67’s will continue to rely on the strong playoff starts of forwards Austen Keating and Artur Tyanulin, who both have three points in three games. Leading the way, however, has been sophomore defenceman Noel Hoefenmayer, who has a goal and three helpers through the first three games. Goalie Leo Lazarev has been solid in goal, stopping 85 of 92 shots in the series so far while posting a 2.36 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
With the Steelheads holding home ice advantage, the 67’s are also aware they will have to hit the road again this weekend, to a barn where they have had some recent success. But again, one game at a time.
“Their building doesn’t scare us, by any means, we know we can win there,” Brown said. “But we’re not thinking that far ahead.”
After allowing his team to “lick their wounds” following Tuesday’s tight loss, Brown’s message to his players is simple.
“Get your head up and get back to work,” he said. “This thing is far from over.”
Mississauga Steelheads (2) vs. Ottawa 67’s (7)
Game 1, Fri, Mar 24 at Mississauga – OTT 2 – 6 MISS
Game 2, Sun, Mar 26 at Mississauga – OTT 4 – 0 MISS
Game 3, Tues, Mar 28 at Ottawa – MISS 2 – 1 OTT
Game 4, Thurs, Mar 30 at Ottawa – 7:00 p.m.
Game 5, Fri, Mar 31 at Mississauga – 7:00 p.m.
Game 6, Sun, Apr 2 at Ottawa – 2:00 p.m.**
Game 7, Tues, Apr 4 at Mississauga – 7:00 p.m.**